Sunday, May 5, 2013

Olive focaccia from gluten-free pizza crust mix

I have been absent from this blog for an entire school year. I had intended to write a post over Christmas break, but then my computer broke and I didn't get it back from the repair place until well after classes had started back up (which was stressful when trying to write a presentation). As it turns out, grad school is hard, and it takes enough time as it is just trying to make nutritious food, let alone blogging about it. Classes are done for the year, though! I just need to get through a final and a qualifying exam, then I will officially be in the program and on my way to getting my PhD. I am excited while also being mildly terrified.

Most weeks there hasn't been a lot of time for baking, and certainly not much time for tinkering with new techniques and recipes. I have looked at this recipe by the Gluten Free Goddess with the intent to make it, but I haven't yet just because of time. Inspired by how delicious it looks, I saw that I had a bunch of pizza crust mixes in my cupboard and decided to experiment. I am very happy with this olive focaccia recipe, both because it is absurdly delicious, and because it is so very easy! I made this in 1.5 hours, and about 1.25 of that was rising and baking. That fits into my (incredibly busy) schedule quite nicely. (No, seriously, some well-meaning ladies at church were telling me that I am just finding excuses to get stressed, and I responded with how excited I am to join my thesis lab, because for most of the summer I will only be working 60 hours a week thanks to no classes and it will be relaxing. They were like "...oh.")

The trick to this is that I used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix, which makes really good focaccia-style bread, as it turns out. And I accidentally bought four of the crust mixes for about 3 dollars a piece (long story) on Amazon the other day, so this was quite a bit cheaper then some of the 6 dollar GF bread mixes I've used.

 So here is how to make it:

Olive Focaccia from GF pizza crust mix.


1 package Bob's Red Mill pizza crust mix (you could probably use another brand, but I wouldn't know what is good)
1.5 cups warm water
2 eggs
2 Tbs olive oil, plus more for the pan and the loaf.
30 or so of your favorite olives (pitted!)
Sea salt to taste
Rosmary or other herbs to taste

Mix the warm water (110 F) with the yeast packet from the mix in a large bowl. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, this is "proofing" the yeast.

Add eggs and 2 Tbs of oil, and whisk together. Add the contents of the pizza mix and stir until the dough is well-mixed.

Let the dough rise for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Oil a 9 inch round cake pan well with olive oil. Transfer the dough from the bowl to the pan, then pour another tablespoon or two of olive oil over the top of the dough, which is both delicious and will also help you during the next step.

Smooth the surface of the dough with your hands so that there is a fairly level surface. The olive oil helps keep your hands from sticking.

Make sure that your olives are fairly well-drained before proceeding.

Push pitted olives into the surface of the dough, making sure they are well-buried, but the tops are still visible. I used a mix of smoked green olives and kalamata olives. Be sure to space the olives apart fairly well.

Sprinkle the top with sea salt. Rosemary or Italian seasoning would have been excellent, but I didn't think of it in time.

Allow the bread to rise for another 10-20 minutes while the oven is heating.

Bake the bread for 25-35 minutes (I only needed 30, but I am baking at 7200 feet and you may need more or less time). The surface of the bread should be lightly brown, and if a fork or toothpick is inserted into the bread, it should come out clean.

Let the bread cool for 20 minutes or so, then slice and enjoy!

If you can't have one of the ingredients in the mix, or don't want to buy a mix, then check out the Gluten-Free Goddess's recipe. I have not made it yet, but it was the inspiration for this!